What grade is the person in?

Signs of LDs can be detected in children as young as 4. But often, signs don’t show up (or are not noticed) until grades 3-5 —or even later in life. And of course, no two people are exactly alike, even if they have the same type of LD.

Did you know?

Researchers have used brain imaging technology to study the structure of the brain and how it works. Comparing people with and without LDs, they found differences in brain structures and in how the brain works when reading and doing math.

Please select the areas where you think the individual is struggling.

Lots of people have more than one LD. For example, someone with a reading disability might also struggle with math. We recommend that you select all the categories you think might apply.

Did you know?

Many children with dyslexia also have dyscalculia. And almost half of the children who have ADHD also have LD. Learn more from NCLD’s “The State of LD” report.

Attention

Think about the person’s behavior over at least the past six months. Then select all the applicable scenarios below.
Is forgetful in daily/routine activities
Is easily distracted by sounds, motion, or other stimuli
Consistently loses things that are necessary for tasks/activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
Has difficulty sustaining attention in play activities and work tasks
Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
Avoids, dislikes, and/or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g., homework, organizing work tasks)
Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
Does not appear to listen when spoken to directly

Did you know?

The brain networks associated with paying attention and staying on task take longer to mature in children with ADHD. Also, girls with attention issues like ADHD may be identified less often than boys. Girls tend to display fewer signs of hyperactivity and other behaviors that attract negative attention.

Gross and Fine Motor Skills

Think about the person’s behavior over at least the past six months. Then select all the applicable scenarios below.
Dislikes and/or avoids writing and drawing tasks
Experiences difficulty using small objects or items that demand precision (e.g., Legos, puzzle pieces, tweezers, scissors)
Grasps pencil awkwardly, resulting in poor handwriting or trouble using utensils
Demonstrates poor ability to color or write “within the lines”
Has trouble copying and drawing shapes and simple figures and creates artwork that lacks detail and seems immature for age
Has trouble with buttons, hooks, snaps, zippers, and/or learning to tie shoes
Has limited success with games and activities that demand changes in body position and/or hand-eye coordination
Appears awkward and clumsy by dropping or spilling things, or knocking them over

Did You Know?

Well-developed motor abilities help people navigate and work with their environments. These skills set the stage for academic and social success.

Language

Think about the person’s behavior over at least the past six months. Then select all the applicable scenarios below.
Demonstrates slow and halting speech, using lots of fillers (e.g., uh, um, and, you know, so)
Has difficulty with pragmatic skills (e.g., understanding the relationship between speaker and listener, staying on topic, gauging the listener’s degree of knowledge, making inferences based on a speaker’s verbal and nonverbal cues)
Has trouble understanding idioms, proverbs, colloquialisms, humor, and/or puns (note: take into account regional and cultural factors)
Has difficulty understanding instructions or directions
Has limited interest in books or stories
Has difficulty rhyming
Inserts malapropisms (“slips of the tongue”) into conversation (e.g., a rolling stone gathers no moths; he was a man of great statue)
Confuses words with others that sound similar
Uses poor grammar or misuses words in conversation (note: take into account regional and cultural factors)
Mispronounces words frequently
Uses vague, imprecise language and has a limited vocabulary
Has difficulty retelling what has just been said and engaging in long conversations
Inserts invented words into conversation
Has difficulty staying on topic
Has trouble naming people or objects in conversation
Has difficulty modulating voice (e.g., too soft, too loud)
Demonstrates early delays in learning to speak

Did you know?

English has countless spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules—and exceptions to those rules. There are thousands of words that sound alike but that have different meanings. Some are pairs (dear/dear) and others are triplets (to/too/two). And some are even in groups of four or more. No wonder language learning can be so hard!

Math

Think about the person’s behavior over at least the past six months. Then select all the applicable scenarios below.
Has difficulty estimating (e.g., quantity, value)
Has trouble telling time (on either a digital or analog clock)
Has difficulty with comparisons (e.g., less than, greater than)
Has trouble positioning numbers in the correct places (e.g., one on top of the other), resulting in computation errors
Has difficulty learning to calculate and memorize basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts
Has difficulty estimating (e.g., quantity, value)
Has difficulty learning and performing strategic counting activities (e.g., by 2, 5, 10, 100)
Has difficulty recognizing quantities without counting
Has difficulty with simple counting and one-to-one correspondence between number symbols and objects
Has trouble reading and interpreting graphs and charts
Has trouble learning and applying formulas and rules for calculation and problem solving

Did you know?

Parents and educators can unintentionally create anxiety about math. This is especially true for girls but it can apply to boys as well. As a result, children may avoid math or give up trying new math tasks.

Other

Think about the person’s behavior over at least the past six months. Then select all the applicable scenarios below.
Is disorganized and poor at planning
Often loses things
Has trouble reading maps
Finds it hard to judge speed and distance (e.g., playing sports, driving a car)
Has a poor sense of direction; is slow to learn the way around a new place; is easily lost or confused in unfamiliar surroundings
Confuses left and right

Did you know?

LDs affect more than academics. People with LDs may also struggle with organization, visual-spatial learning, and social-emotional cues.

Reading

Think about the person’s behavior over at least the past six months. Then select all the applicable scenarios below.
Dislikes and/or avoids learning letters or reading
Has poor retention of new vocabulary
Substitutes and/or leaves out words while reading
Reads slowly, with great effort and poor intonation
Guesses at unfamiliar words rather than using word analysis skills
Has weak comprehension of ideas/themes
Needs to sound out words already encountered in printed text
Reverses letter order in words (e.g., saw/was) while reading and writing
Confuses similar-looking words (e.g., beard/bread) while reading
Has trouble naming letters (e.g., confuses similar looking letters and numbers)
Has difficulty recognizing and remebering common ‘sight words’
Has trouble blending sounds together to make words
Has problems connecting letters to the sounds they make
Has difficulty tapping or clapping out the syllables in words
Has difficulty recognizing the small units of sounds (phonemes) in spoken words

Did you know?

Reading doesn’t just happen! Children need to be taught how the 26 letters and 44 speech sounds in the English language work as the foundation for developing literacy skills. Early screening can help determine which children are most likely to struggle with learning to read.

Written Language

Think about the person’s behavior over at least the past six months. Then select all the applicable scenarios below.
Fails to develop ideas in writing (e.g., written work is incomplete, too brief or disorganized)
Has difficulty preparing outlines and organizing written assignments
Has difficulty proofreading and self-correcting written or printed work
Spells poorly and inconsistently (e.g., the same word appears differentlyother places in the same document)
Copies inaccurately (e.g. confuses similar-looking letters and numbers)
Uses uneven spacing between letters & words, and has trouble staying “on the line”
Frequently reverses or misdraws letters, numbers, and symbols
Has difficulty remembering shapes of letters and numerals
Has messy and incomplete writing, with many cross-outs and erasures
Demonstrates delays in learning to copy and write
Dislike and avoides writing & copying

Did you know?

Up to 30% of school-age children struggle with handwriting and written expression. It can take a toll on both academic learning and self-esteem.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve completed the checklist, you’re well on your way to understanding and addressing concerns about key skills and behaviors that impact learning. Even if you didn’t check many items on the list, you may still think the child is struggling in one or more of these areas. Bring your concerns to teachers and other professionals—that’s the first step to getting children the help they need to succeed. Don’t hesitate to ask whether support can be provided, or if a screening or comprehensive evaluation would be appropriate. Ask how to begin the process. Sharing what you’ve learned from this checklist can be a great starting point.

Mom holding her child's hands.

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Next Steps

If you think a child is struggling, talk to the child’s teacher or pediatrician, or another professional. Ask what can be done to help this child succeed. Here are some sample questions to get the discussion started.